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Friday, December 26, 2008

It Can Stop Snowing Now...

I got out for a walk this morning for the first time in a couple of days...except for a short hike to the Post Office on Christmas Eve, I haven't left my apartment since Monday.
I've heard on the Seattle area newscasts that this is only the 10th white Christmas in this area since 1891...seems like we got ALL the snow that was allotted to us in the past 12 days or so. Looking out my window onto the roof line below, there's easily 12-14 inches of powdery white stuff piled up there.

At first I was excited, because the dog tracking project seemed to take off...but then the neighbors stopped walking their dogs down the street. I've been there...when it's too cold or the snow is just too deep to be fun, the dog walks stay pretty close to the front door. And I've found it to be unsafe to be crawling around in the snow at the edge of the road trying to measure tracks as cars slide by.

I've just called in to Ben Franklin at Monroe, and found that I'm not on the schedule for this weekend! I missed working Sunday because I can't find a safe way to get down to highway 203. As much as I hated to call in, I was afraid to try to make it down the hill to the highway. 25 years of working at a hospital where calling in was not an option makes you want to try no matter how stupid, but I'm glad I've learned this: It's not worth risking your life or your car for a few dollars more in the paycheck at the end of the week. I don't think I could have said that before my Residential Program year....funny how the most important lessons you learn are the ones you don't even realize you were enrolled in.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


This is a short but sadly funny comment...As I will be turning 50 on January 3rd, I suppose it should not have been a surprise to get a letter from AARP. Somehow, it just seems wrong to wind up on this mailing list. I don't know if I should be mad or sad. I don't feel older than, say 47 or 48. And what makes them think I'll be able to retire, anyway? Probably the smartest thing I've ever done was to cash in my retirement fund and come to the Residential Program. Given the current ecomomic news, it seems smarter than ever...but I'm wondering, will anyone of my generation and ecomomic status ever really be able to retire? Right now it does not look likely. But I'm so thankful that I took the money and ran when I did...I wouldn't have the option now.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Almost Missouri Cold!

Wow! This is the first time since I got here in Sept. 2006 that we've had anything approaching Missouri cold...It's really beautiful, and I walked to work today in a foot of snow! It just snowed like crazy yesterday, and I took a snow day...I tracked dogs #2 and # 3 in my driveway. It was really funny to see the neighbors come along. At first they thought I'd fallen, and would start over to see if I was OK. But then, they realized that I'm down measuring things in the snow...that's when they would veer away and look around as if my keeper must have let me out of sight. Once I explained my project, everyone thougt it was kind of cool. I'm off tomorrow, too. I should have lots of tracks by the end of next week, as the office is closed and I can track every day but Sunday...if I'm able to get down to the highway and get into there's a high wind warning. In 06, it looked like Christmas had exploded! Trees were down and power out for a couple of weeks in some places...I have plenty of food, so no worries there, but it could be scary if it's as windy as they say it might be.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Greetings!

Those of you who know me well will be surprised to hear that I invited a friend over last night for stew and Christmas movies. You might not be so surprised to hear that the movies were "Die Hard" and "Lethal Weapon".
With luck, that will be the end of my holiday celebrations. With family half way across the country, I won't have to go "visit" and I won't be sad about that either.

I'm looking forward to a quiet holiday, hot tea, good book and contented cat by my side. Likely, I'll have to turn down a few invitations, and most people don't get that I'm happy to stay home on the holidays. I want to work on some crafty type projecst, and perhaps do some dog tracking at the park on Christmas morning.

With a bit more luck, I'll be able to pay my car off a couple of months early and then look at quiting the weekend job! That will give me time and energy to work on the dog tracking project for my Tracking Intensive class. I can't wait to get going on that...the Basset Hound really got me excited about what I might learn about dog tracks.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dog #1

This is Beba, a lovely and exuberant Basset Hound. She's 2 years old, and weighs 44 pounds. You could say that she "volunteered" for my project. She saw me coming from about 200 yards, and began wagging her entire body, hoping I'd come and talk to her! Once I'd explained my project, her owner readily agreed to come to the sandy beach and lay down some tracks for me...I'll bet no one ever mistakes these for coyote tracks!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dog Tracking Update to Come...and Another Coyote

I forgot to bring in my photos to share...will get them up tomorrow, along with a story about tracking a Basset Hound!

I've about lost track of the coyote it # 9 I saw today? I had to run into Monroe for Ben Franklin's Christmas breakfast early today...We shared a nice breakfast at Ixtapa, and I won a prize! On the way back in the fog, I saw another coyote standing at the edge of the highway just north of Duvall. Pretty cool! I'm astounded by my good luck today.

My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"